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Alleged Victim Refuses to Testify in Werdesheims' Trial

"In my heart I didn't want to testify," 16-year-old Corey Ausby, a witness for the state, and the alleged victim in the state's case against two Upper Park Heights brothers, said in court Wednesday.

The 16-year-old alleged victim of a beating involving two members of a Jewish neighborhood watch group declined to testify against his alleged attackers in court.

He also said he didn't want to press charges.

"I feel in the heart I did wrong,” Corey Ausby said, frequently pausing between unfinished sentences. “At the same time I didn't mean to call the police on them (referring to the Werdesheims)," he said Wednesday after Baltimore City Circuit Judge Pamela White ordered him to testify.

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Prosecutors say Eliyahu Werdesheim, now 24, who at the time was a member of the neighborhood watch group Shomrim, and his brother, Avi Werdesheim, now 21, beat Ausby on Nov. 19, 2010.

They say the elder brother was patrolling the Upper Park Heights area for Shomrim, and his brother—who has never been a member of Shomrim—was with him in the car.

They came across the teen and allegedly told him he didn't belong there. They allegedly forced him to the ground and broke his wrist in the process.

Avi Werdesheim allegedly hit Ausby on the head with a two-way radio that belonged to Shomrim.

The brothers face charges of false imprisonment, second-degree assault and deadly weapon with intent to injure, related to the incident in Northwest Baltimore.

Andrew Alperstein and Susan Green, attorneys for the brothers, say the Werdesheims acted in self defense after Ausby wielded a stick with nails protruding from it.

Ausby's testimony Wednesday at the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse in Baltimore was difficult to hear, and difficult to get.

While being questioned by Kevin Wiggins, assistant states attorney, Ausby repeatedly responded with silence, or avoided the microphone he was instructed to use while answering. He often hung his head forward, well below his shoulders.

Ausby explained that on Nov. 19 he was walking along Fallstaff Road, heading to the bus stop after visiting his grandmother who lives in Fallstaff Manor Apartments.

He was to meet his mother and go to the doctor. He said he didn't make it to the bus stop.

When asked why he didn't make it, Ausby hung his head, occasionally sniffled, and otherwise did not respond. Wiggins repeated questions, and also gave his witness time to answer.

White ordered Ausby to respond.

Ausby stood and said, "... I didn't even want to go through the stuff I had to go through. In my heart, I didn't want to testify. I wanted to drop the charges."

White explained to Ausby that the state was responsible for filing the charges. She reminded Ausby that he was an important prosecution witness.

There are a dozen or more witnesses, as well, whose testimony is also important, she said.

When Wiggins asked Ausby if he is "saying it didn't happen," Ausbury replied only "I don't want to testify."

White, noting the "considerable difficulty" Ausby had answering questions, dismissed him.

As a result, White also dismissed a piece of evidence she had already admitted: a photo array that the state had presented to Ausby to help him identify Eliyahu Werdesheim in the alleged attack.

Also during the trial Wednesday, White admitted into evidence the Baltimore City 911 call that Ausby made minutes after the event.

The defendants' attorneys objected, saying the call didn't include the first call that mistakenly went to Baltimore County 911.

They also argued that they could no longer cross-examine Ausby about the call.

Parts of the call were difficult to hear within the courtroom.

Ausby, then 15 years old, is heard saying that "a whole bunch" of people were involved, and that "they're still right here." 

Ausby told the operator that the weapon was "a Walkie Talkie used ... on my head," and that his head had stopped bleeding.

Prosecutors are scheduled to continue presenting their case on Thursday morning.

William Metzner, Sr. April 26, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Strange case, is it not?
Janet Metzner April 26, 2012 at 01:18 PM
It was surprising that he didn't testify.
Jackie April 26, 2012 at 02:47 PM
It sounds like he has emotional problems and doesn't want all this attention. That said, those Werdisham boys assaulted him and should pay for that. Now it's looking like they bullied a vulnerable child which is even more disgusting. Do they even understand that they are bullies?
SMG April 26, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Are you sure the Werdesheims are bullies? What if he picked up a stick with nails sticking out and attacked them? That is what the trial is about, and when given a chance to state his story, the young man realized that he did not want to even begin. When this first happened, he had a choice of saying that the fight was his fault, or their fault, and like many 15 year olds in a jam, chose to blame someone else. If Werdesheim really wanted to do damage, it would have been done, he was trained in hand to hand combat. This truly may have been a case where a young kid became agitated and threatened or attacked and was put down, and held till the police arrived. No serious damage ( no broken wrist!!!). Some people who wanted to cause division between two communities that live in peace pushed him into this position. It must be hard for the young man, but don't blame the Werdesheims unless you are SURE of what happened. To be honest, we live in a country where black citizens were often the victims of unfair courts and prosecution, and discrimination. I believe that EVERYONE should be aware of the history, black and white, Gentile and Jew.. But injustice of the past should not be used to justify injustice in the present.
Jackie April 26, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Nope, SMG, the young man picked up the stick in response to the threat from the bullies. The young man sustained a head injury and a broken wrist. The Werdesheims? Nothing but a bad attitude.
eddie jones April 26, 2012 at 11:44 PM
he got paided offf
Cheryl Cohen April 27, 2012 at 04:56 AM
What a coplex case...I would not want to be the lawyer defending any of them.
Cheryl Cohen April 27, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Complex...not coplex! OOPs!
SMG April 27, 2012 at 08:54 AM
Jackie, thanks for measured response. Broken wrist? No. Initial news reports cited broken wrist, but later ones did not! May have been re-injury of old fracture. If no broken wrist, would that change your perception? Head injury, yes, no question. but, what if being self conscious (statement said he felt drivers were looking at him the wrong way) he over reacted, picked up the stick with a nail protruding and he started confrontation. If that is the case, then one cut requiring two staples is actually evidence that the Werdesheims did NOT have a bad attitude. Apparently he was just subdued and held until police arrived with no additional injury. Keep in mind that Werdesheim has military training and could easily have done major damage, lack of damage shows that there was a very measured response. Pretty impressive attitude, not to injure someone who attacked you, IF that is the true scenario. Truth is, the young man decided not to testify under oath, though apparently coached and encouraged to do so for a long time. Please do not pre judge. That is PREJUDICE. Those who know history understand that Jews and Blacks have both suffered greatly from prejudice and discrimination in America, and should unite in seeking it's total demise. Sad thing is that some "leaders" immediately and persistently used this incident to create racial tensions. That is the real "bad attitude".
Jackie April 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Sorry SMG, it still doesn't wash. The Word-a-Shames were adults, presumably with good judgement and powers of observation. They picked the wrong person (faulty powers of observation), a child, then attempted to intimidate him for being black in "their" neighborhood (poor judgment). I maintain the youth picked up a stick in defense. I wonder, how would you react if you were suddenly approached (jumped) by unknown people while walking down a public sidewalk to the bus stop? Thank goodness cooler heads, also known as the adults of Shomrim, showed up and followed procedures, including administering first aid and calling the police. They didn't attempt hand to hand combat. On a youth. Yes, Blacks and Jews have a shared history of prejudice and discrimination. Maybe someone could educate the newer and maybe more volatile? members of Shomrin, let them know that this is Baltimore, MD, USA and not a country under military siege. Neighborhood patrols are important, but members are not the police or the Israeli army. When I lived in the Shomrin patrol area, I felt protected, not prey.
SMG April 27, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Thanks for comment, Jackie. Glad that you are not among those that condemn the entire Shomrim group or neighborhood watch concept because of this incident. Many vocal people did. Still disturbed by your confidence that the Werdesheims were the initiators, that they attempted to intimidate him, based totally upon the youngster's initial description of events. After all, this MIGHT be a youth with a history of arrests and fights, although that information is not available, as if he was an adult. It is an important question, is it not? If he has a history of arrests & fights, does his version become more questionable? These questions might have been answered if there was testimony and cross examination, and access to legal records, but that has not occurred. As such, perhaps an open mind requires that the previous accusations should not be believed since they were not repeated under oath, where cross examination could take place. That is the concept of innocent until proven guilty. The Werdesheims were accused, but their accuser, the only one able to accuse, now chooses not to testify against them. Should that not suggest that they should be presumed innocent, as there is noone accusing them? You are prejudging, based upon accusations that are now retracted, or at least withheld. No matter what, now that the young man has decided not to testify, I hope that he gets as much attention in recovering from this ordeal as he did in publicizing it.
Jackie April 27, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Don't fault me for quoting Judge Judy here, but she often says if it doesn't make sense, it often isn't true. If we are going to look solely at the interaction that took place, the facts are that one Shomrim member and his brother approached a youth on a public walkway and struck him. He, the youth, did not attack the adult(s) who approached him.The youth sustained injuries, the adults did not. If we are going to speculate on the youth's past, then we must do the same for the Shomrim members. I don't believe that the youth pulled some secret Ninja moves on the Israeli special forces member. The Werdesheims, like Zimmerman in Florida, went too far, not understanding in the moment all of the potential outcomes. Neighborhood patrols are a help to the police, not a substitute for them. The rules are clear about what to do and what not to do. I stand by all of my previous comments: the adults approached and injured the youth.
SMG April 27, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Jackie, we are disagreeing on something that is essential. You seem certain that the Werdesheims approached the young man and struck him! You are basing that on a trial by the press. They were condemned in the press for a long time, painting a picture that is not necessarily true. How do you know the youngster did not pick up a stick and threaten or attack, for whatever feelings he was feeling? Were you there? You are condemning without knowing the details, in other words, you are prejudging, based upon the accusations in the paper. Now, in court, THE ACCUSATIONS HAVE DISAPPEARED, but the picture painted in the minds of so many people is still there. What happened to "Innocent until proven guilty"? Werdesheims are still judged guilty in the court of public opinion. PREJUDGED!!! Comparing this to the Florida case? Here a young man who was in a fight was held till the police arrive, with minimal damage. There, a young man was shot to death! The comparison is truly obscene. If you disagree, how do you think trevon's parents would like to change places with the local family? Our major disagreement is with acceptance of this young mans story. If he is right, that Werdesheims attacked him without physical provocation, I agree that they warrant conviction. If a story was fabricated as a young man tried to avoid blame for the problem, the Werdesheims deserve an major league apology from a lot of people. Do we agree on this paragraph?
Bernard Lee April 27, 2012 at 09:40 PM
“If the Werdesheims want to defend Israel they need to go to Israel. There are no 'west banks' they can occupy and defend against anyone here. This is the U.S. and African Americans are not Palistinians. The black kid they told 'you don't belong here' then assaulted for being in their neighborhood is the descendant of black soldiers who fought their way across Europe to liberate Jews from Nazi death camps in 1944. At that time 'you don't belong here' was the the cry of the Germans against the Jews and the justification for the racist atrocities they carried out. Are the Jews so far removed from the sting they have grown the tail of the scorpion?”
SMG April 27, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Why are you believing the description of the conversation of the young man when he has decided against testifying? He has had his opportunity to speak up in court, and has chosen not to, and actually suggested that the charges be dropped, that he did not want to testify, and that he was pressured into it. Why not pay attention to what he is saying now? Perhaps the young man "misspoke" because he did not want to get into trouble. I agree that IF the Werdesheims are guilty as charged they should pay a price, but if they are not guilty, if the young man started the incident and then lied to cover his tracks, then all who are judging on the basis of slanted reporting in the press are guilty of prejudging............. Again, innocent until proven guilty. Let us see if the prosecution can succeed in the court of law. Stop attacking the Werdesheims when they might be completely innocent. Unless of course you do not care if you slander people who might be completely innocent.
Jackie April 28, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I am following the published from the youth AND the Werdesheims. The Sun, The Jewish Times. Even if no one uttered a word, a youth was attacked by two adults. The youth sustained injuries, the adults did not. The youth was 15 years old walking on a public walkway. The two adults stopped him, questioned his right to walk on a public street and then attacked him. Remember, special forces met a piece of random wood and the youth lost. Responsible adults ought to know better, huh? @SMG, reasonable people can discern the truth from media reports. A youth was walking down the street when approached by two adults. Then a youth was injured by the two adults. The adults were not harmed. They didn't even render first aid; other responsible adults sized up the situation and rendered first aid and called authorities, the way they were supposed to. Now consider for a moment the alternate scenario you presented: the youth, 15 years old in his school clothes on his way from his grandmother's house, took a piece of wood studded with nails and went after an Israeli special forces member. For sport. Are you suggesting he stood in the street and stopped the car the Werdesheims were driving and challenged them to a duel? Come on now, SMG, does that even sound probable?
Mordechai Aryeh April 28, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I can't really say much about what the situation is until the trial is over, but it seems to me that there is a double standard at play here. The Werdesheims are using the "self-defense" argument. Nobody is claiming that they didn't roll up on this kid. Nobody is claiming they weren't watching him from their car. It seems clear that they initially approached the kid, not the other way around. So, wouldn't he have a right to defend himself? A fifteen year old against two grown men who are trailing him in a car? I think anybody in that situation has the right to defend themselves.
Janet Metzner April 29, 2012 at 02:32 AM
It's only the beginning of the case, there's a lot more information that has yet to come out. And, unfortunately, the teenager didn't specify further about why he didn't testify.
SMG April 29, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Jackie, I respect this dialogue, but please. "A reasonable person can discern the truth from media reports"? In other words, trial by press reports. You condemn based upon unsubstantiated accusations. PLEASE. Understand the politics, and the fact that this was used by some people to fan racial tensions. PLEASE. Understand that this young man did not crumble under cross examination by the defense. After a long time of mumbled answers, his clear statement to the PROSECUTOR was that he did not want to press charges, that he was pressured into this, that he wanted the charges dropped. There is no witness accusing the Werdesheims, but based upon many months of speculation and unsubstantiated attacks on the Werdesheims, through the press, they have been vilified and condemned in the court of public opinion. This is the danger of the BIG LIE. Repeat something often enough, and many well meaning people will believe it, even if it is not true. Mordechai Aryeh, what to you mean "ROLL UP?. Are you saying that the Werdesheims had the audacity to get out of a car to talk, and that justifies the young man picking up a stick with a nail in it and attacking, so the Werdesheims must be at fault even though it was the young man who initiated the violence? That if adults get out of a car , it is justification for a violent attack with a real deadly weapon, (not a hand held radio). Is there no change in positions, now that the accuser has retracted accusations?
Jackie April 29, 2012 at 07:08 PM
The facts that no one questions (media, defendants, victim): a youth was walking down the street on a public walkway and two adults got out of a car to confront him. At the end of the event, a youth had injuries, the police were called, the adults had no injuries. The trial will give us more details, the media will report as best it can, we may never know the real reason why the youth has gone mute. Everything else is speculation.
SMG April 29, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Thank you Jackie. Way too much vagueness to come to an accurate conclusion about the actions or the attitude of the Werdesheims. No evidence to condemn them, at least not yet. If they did do racial slurs and initiate attack, I would also condemn them, but there is not a shred of evidence submitted so far that they did. Just a story retracted when the moment of truth arrived. Sure hope that anyone who is trying to make a real connection between this and the Florida tragedy reconsiders.........shooting to kill, and restraining until the police arrive is as different as night and day. I repeat, mentioning them in the same breath is truly obscene. I truly hope that there is a flow of positive attention and support to this young man from family, friends, and those who present as his supporters, and that the remainder of his teenage years are spent in growth. with no fights, and no confrontations that result in any injuries.
Mordechai Aryeh April 29, 2012 at 09:52 PM
@SMG: like I said, it's all speculation until the trial's over. but yes, i do believe that if two adults are trailing and then confronting a 15 year old and supposedly telling him he doesn't belong there, I think it is perfectly justified for that person to defend themselves. If these people were trailing him like they are accused of doing, it sure sounds like they initiated the violence.
Jackie April 29, 2012 at 11:09 PM
One kid vs one special forces Israeli. Outcome?
SMG April 30, 2012 at 01:47 AM
First of all, you are still basing this on the well publicized press version, that is now retracted. Second of all, I think you are wrong. Telling me I do not belong someplace is not justification for picking up a stick with a nail in it and attacking the person who said it. Of do you think it does? If they were not capable of defending themselves, and he stuck a nail in the eye of a person who talked to him, would that be justified? Please understand that all your comments are based on a story that is now withdrawn. What do you base your condemnation on? Stories that were retracted, broken wrist that never happened, by a kid who when asked this week by the judge what he had been doing responded that he had been fighting?
SMG April 30, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I would bet that IF he indeed picked up the stick with a nail in it, and attacked, as certainly is a possible scenario, he would not have known that he was starting with someone capable of defending himself. Werdesheim would not have been in uniform, would he? You seem to present that since the kid was hurt and Werdesheim was not, that it MUST have been Werdesheim's fault. Is that the basis of your case, that the person hurt must have been the victim, rather than the initiator? How would it change if the kid had hit with the stick with the nail and done damage? Should Werdesheim allow himself to be hurt so as to be able to then justify defending himself? Jackie, if it was you,and a 15 year old came at you with a stick with a nail sticking out of it, what would you do? Defend yourself, and hold the attacker until the police arrive? Sounds pretty reasonable to me. And how would you feel if the press and a lot of people attacked you for defending yourself? Since that might be the case, why do you condemn based on a now essentially retracted story?
Jackie April 30, 2012 at 02:40 PM
@SMG, let's try this again. If I were walking down the street and some man challenged me for walking down the street, then got out of his car to further pursue the issue, I would feel threatened and consider how to defend myself. In my case, I carry pepper spray. If I had to use the pepper spray, I would stay near my attacker until the police arrived and I could give them a full report (assuming the second man allegedly in the car didn't try to harm me, again the pepper spray). One big difference between me in this situation and the youth is that I am an adult who understands my right to exist on a public walkway and understand the nature of the challenge.

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